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  • avatar zaken1 04/10/12 10:40 pm PST

    The place you indicated in your drawing (which displayed more than adequate artistic ability: My Mother was a professional artist, which may qualify this opinion) looks like the flexible joint on the steering shaft (sometimes called a "rag joint") which is designed to flex and allow the steering shaft to fold in the event of an accident. This part rarely fails; but it may be worthwhile if you reported this failure on the NHTSA website: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Rec
    a...

Answers

  • zaken1 04/09/12 2:11 am PST

    Did you check the fluid level in the power steering reservoir before or after the accident. Power steering noises often are caused by low fluid level. If the system runs out of fluid; it will cause complete loss of control of the vehicle. Some ignorant people will tell you that "this type of noise is "not an issue" but their statements should not be taken seriously.

    My brother in law had a 1976 Ford Maverick; which was acting like the steering was unstable. he took the car to THREE different highly regarded wheel alignment and front end specialists; and none of them found any problem with the car. Soon afterward; he and his whole family were driving in this car on a busy freeway, when the steering began to swerve more and more violently from side to side. The car then veered onto a wide area that separaed two adjacent roads, and the car overturned at 55 mph and rolled several times. It fortunately ended up on its wheels. The whole family was shaken up and cut by broken glass; but nobody was seriously hurt. The car was totalled.

    When the insurance investigator examined the car; he found that there was NO FLUID IN THE POWER STEERING SYSTEM. It had gradually run dry over time; and NOBODY HAD EVER CHECKED IT; INCLUDING THE THREE SHOPS THAT THE CAR WAS TAKEN TO.

    I checked for steering recalls on your 2003 Vue, and found there were none. I did find a recall for 2008 and 2009 Vues for a nut that could come off and cause a fluid leak, as well as potentially being a fire hazard. Here's a copy of that recall notice:

    2008 Saturn Vue Steering Recall 08V470000

    NHTSA: Action Number: N/A Service Bulletin Number: 08V470000
    • Report Date:
      Sep 17, 2008
    • Component:
      Steering
    • Potential Units Affected:
      42408
    • Manufacturer:
      General Motors Corp.


    Summary: Gm is recalling 42,408 my 2008-2009 saturn vue vehicles. Some of these vehicles have a condition in which the nut securing the power steering line to the power steering pump may loosen. If this were to occur, there may be a power steering fluid leak.
    Consequence: The fluid could contact hot exhaust components resulting in a possible engine compartment fire.
    Remedy: Dealers will inspect the nut securing the power steering line to the power steering pump. If there are no signs of a fluid leak, dealers will tighten the nut. If a fluid leak is present, dealer will tighten the nut and check the fluid level. The recall began on september 26, 2008. Owners may contact saturn at 1-800-972-8876 or through their website at <a href=http://www. Gmownercenter. Com>http://www. Gmownercenter. Com</a>.
    Notes: Gm recall no. 08284. Customers may also contact the national highway traffic safety administration's vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (tty 1-800-424-9153), or go to <a href=http://www. Safercar. Gov>http://www. Safercar. Gov</a>.



    Here's a 2009 Vue recall that is for a different problem:

    2009 Saturn Vue Steering Recall 08V616000

    NHTSA: Action Number: N/A Service Bulletin Number: 08V616000
    • Report Date:
      Nov 24, 2008
    • Component:
      Steering
    • Potential Units Affected:
      2149
    • Manufacturer:
      General Motors Corp.


    Summary: Gm is recalling 2,149 my 2009 saturn vue vehicles. Some of these vehicles may have been built with an incorrect right and/or left front steering knuckle. As a result of the incorrect knuckle and resulting inadequate clearance, the tie rod ball stud could pull out of, or fracture, the tie rod housing. This could cause the tie rod to separate from the knuckle.
    Consequence: Although steering control of the vehicle could be maintained after a tie rod separation by the unaffected wheel on smooth roads or during light braking, with more significant suspension or braking inputs, the affected wheel could turn out and skid. If a vehicle built with two incorrect steering knuckles had both tie rods separate at the same time, steering control of the vehicle would be lost, increasing the risk of a crash.
    Remedy: Dealers will inspect the steering knuckles and, if necessary, replace the steering knuckle(s) and tie rod(s). The recall began on december 8, 2008. Owners may contact saturn at 1-800-972-8876 or through their website at <a href=http://www. Gmownercenter. Com>http://www. Gmownercenter. Com</a>.
    Notes: Gm recall no. 08389. Customers may also contact the national highway traffic safety administration's vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (tty 1-800-424-9153), or go to <a href=http://www. Safercar. Gov>http://www. Safercar. Gov</a>.


    Here's another peritinent article:

    August 5, 2004
    General Motors is voluntarily recalling the Saturn VUE to fix a problem with the rear suspension. In doing so, it may be hoping to avoid litigation that could result from accidents occurring while government safety agencies conduct their own investigations.
    The recall affects 246,433 VUEs in the 2002-2004 model years, including 231,123 in the United States and 15,310 in Canada.
    It all started when a Saturn VUE owner wrote to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to complain that the rear wheels of his car collapsed on a tight turn, causing the vehicle to roll over.
    The agency decided to conduct a test of its own, taking tight turns at 45 mph, and sure enough, the rear suspension collapsed and the car rolled over. The same thing happened when a two-wheel drive model of the VUE was put through the same test.
    GM Chief Financial Officer John Devine, asked about the recall at a seminar, said the company would rather fix the problem than just talk about it. The company has faced a number of costly recalls in the last six months.
    If you drive a VUE, expect a call from your dealer in the next few days. You'll also receive a letter advising you when to bring in your car for repairs. The company was not specific in detailing its modification plans, other than saying the rear suspension would be strengthened.
    However, GM said Saturn retailers will eventually provide detailed information to VUE owners that will explain the modification and how it will make the car safer.
    For many VUE owners, the suspension problem may come as a nasty surprise. The NHTSA gave the 2003 Saturn VUE a rating of three stars, out of five, for its ability to resist a rollover. But then, up until this year, the NHTSA didn't test the vehicles on a track. Instead, the agency used a mathematic formula to predict whether the vehicle would keep all four tires on the pavement.
    I could not find any other recalls that pertained to this issue.

  • reasontofight 04/09/12 11:49 am PST

    thanks for the info...there was lots of pwr steering fluid in it just a few days ago...he checked it...i've asked him to humour me and check it now just to see if i did drop it...so fortunate it didn't end up like your story did...

  • MrShift@Edmunds 04/09/12 12:09 pm PST

    Didn't see anything.

    Are you sure the engine didn't stall? If it did, you'd lose the steering.

    any chance you threw off the power steering belt?

  • zaken1 04/09/12 2:44 pm PST

    Mr. Shiftright's answer brings a fresh perspective to this issue. We sometimes get so caught up in searching for complex causes that we overlook the obvious. Many people do not realize that; if an engine stalls; it wil cause a loss of power steering. In the noise and activity of driving in an urban environment; the engine can sometimes stall without it being apparent. The sure sign of an engine stalling is when the oil pressure and battery warning lights on the dashboard light up while driving.

    The power steering pump is driven by a belt from the engine crankshaft. This belt will deteriorate over time, and can break suddenly. This is why periodic belt inspections are recommended as a part of routine maintenance. Cracks developing in the underside of a belt are a sign that it should be replaced.

    Any car, no matter how well designed, can develop potentially serious problems it it is not maintained regularly. And neglected or overlooked maintenance is the most common cause of car breakdowns and accidents.

  • reasontofight 04/09/12 3:11 pm PST

    thanks again for the input...didn't stall...wheel would turn freely but did nothing....he's having it towed later today...hopefully we'll have an answer as to what happened and hopefully it's not a huge financial hit...i'll post again once i have more info...tks again everyone.

  • MrShift@Edmunds 04/09/12 8:23 pm PST

    Could be the pump in that case....I didn't see any recalls for 2003 vehicles.

  • reasontofight 04/10/12 8:51 am PST

    hi everyone...the vue is now repaired...the issue was the rod that goes up to the knuckles into the steering column...if you know what i mean...sorry i don't know the tech terms. anyway...this rod had totally disconnected from the steering column...rack and pinion ...does this make sense to you guys?

    it could have definitely been very costly..luckily a friend got us a really good deal on the parts and helped repair it. still set us back $300 for parts and $60 for the tow...plus the heart attack my husband nearly had when it happened ! tks again for all the info. this is a good site.
    sk

  • Stever@Edmunds 04/10/12 8:58 am PST

    Thanks for reporting back!

  • MrShift@Edmunds 04/10/12 12:00 pm PST

    Ohhhh....I didn't pick up from your statements that the steering wheel turned freely but the wheels didn't move. Man, that's a scary accident---pretty rare thing to happen. That part was probably a tie rod?

  • reasontofight 04/10/12 7:18 pm PST

    i don't think it was a tie rod....

    this is what i was told...

    sorry about the artist ability...

    not having any i mean LOL...








    the issue area *connection rod type thing*

    completely separated from the upper

    area of the steering column.



    tks

    Source: 

  • zaken1 04/10/12 10:40 pm PST

    The place you indicated in your drawing (which displayed more than adequate artistic ability: My Mother was a professional artist, which may qualify this opinion) looks like the flexible joint on the steering shaft (sometimes called a "rag joint") which is designed to flex and allow the steering shaft to fold in the event of an accident. This part rarely fails; but it may be worthwhile if you reported this failure on the NHTSA website: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Rec
    a...

  • MrShift@Edmunds 04/11/12 10:31 am PST

    Been a long time since I've seen one of those fail. That would have been way down on my guess list.

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